Friday, December 25, 2009

Cannonball Read - Book 89

I love it when my MIL hands off books to me that just barely make the 200-page minimum... short equals quick! I started La's Orchestra Saves the World at about 9 PM last night and was finished with it by 1:30 PM today(and that includes a break to open presents). Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, of which I have only read the first book - and I didn't love it. It's been quite a while since I read it, though, and now I can't remember why I didn't like it - and the MIL assured me that this was a quick, good read.

And it was! Set in England during World War II, La's Orchestra Saves the World is tale of suspicion, redemption, love, work, friendship, loss, all those things that make for a captivating and quick read (no sentences about tetrodotoxins in this one). Like so many books I've like a lot this year, LOStW makes you care about the characters and their circumstances, even the ones you aren't supposed to like very much. Not liking doesn't mean not caring, you know? La, the protagonist, survives as she can after personal hardship; lonely and intelligent, she struggles to find her place in her countryside community, and starts up a village orchestra to "boost morale" during a dark time. The healing power of music (or art or dance) may be a bit of a literary cliche at this point, but McCall Smith doesn't hit you over the head with it; it's subtle but powerful.

La's Orchestra Saves the World - B+

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